One of the great things about my job is the opportunity to work with some of the leading B2B companies in the US and worldwide. This gives the FMP team and me the ability to track the most significant issues facing marketing and sales professionals. For the past couple of years, we have been publishing the top B2B sales and marketing trends that we believe will have the most impact on a company's ability to gain and maintain competitive advantage.
In the rapidly evolving B2B arena, knowing the key trends can help you refine, adjust or enhance your strategy. For B2B sales and marketing professionals who want to improve their practice and results, one of the best things about the end of the year holidays is using some of these slower days to reflect on progress, review the achievements and challenges of the past year, and think ahead to how your strategy can evolve and improve.
With that in mind, here are five key trends that can contribute to your success in 2014. By the way, this post was excerpted from my article on this subject in Colorado Biz Magazine. You can read the full article here.
Bring on the school holiday pageants, local baseball games and armchair poetry slams... YouTube today announced that it is expanding its live video services to the masses. Everyone who has a verified account can now stream live video on YouTube, and verified accounts can now create a Google+ Hangout on Air.
The company today has not given an update on how much take-up the live service has seen overall, but big-name, high-profile live events have proven to be major draws on the platform. The Red Bull Stratos Mission, for example, drew 8 million concurrent viewers.
Live events give Google a way to complement the role it plays as the archive of the long-tail and keeper of viral clips. "Appointment" viewing around live events presents specific kinds of advertising opportunities and helps YouTube position itself more securely as a TV alternative.
A new study conducted by the CMO Network on Forbes asks nearly 2,000 chief marketers a bunch of questions, including the best ad agency of the year, how important is integrated marketing communication, and how they feel about measurement, the agency model, the pitch, and more.
The chief marketers mostly commented on the relationships they have with the large agencies, particularly those under holding companies.
What's interesting is their feeling on how well digital is being integrated into the agency model, with some going as far as to say agencies are "acquiring assets, but having difficulty integrating digital capabilities."
In fact, nearly three quarters believe agencies are not adapting well to the digital age. A typical comment was, "I think they have given up adapting and are laying low. I see very little interest in changing."
The World Has Changed, But Marketing Has Not
Social media is oversold as a marketing channel and undervalued as a customer connection. Sales by conversation are an illusion created by people more focused on building personal brands than exploring and developing a new channel. The new media gurus adopted a "sell and destroy" strategy that effectively promoted networking as the only future of marketing and blamed failed attempts by others on insufficient awesomeness.
Creative valuations of marketing campaigns are part of the sell strategy. Traditional success metrics like sales, customer acquisition, and return on investment are replaced with followers, fans, likes, retweets, and comments. Creating viral content that generates buzz replaces increasing revenue and profitability as marketing goals. To the uninitiated, this shift seems ludicrous, but it has become the social media standard.
Questioning this standard activates the destroy part of the strategy. Anyone daring to ask for data proving that social media works is belittled for being clueless. Questions about how to create successful campaigns receive answers like "Be awesome and it will happen" or "Remarkable content creates remarkable success."
While acting more like snake oil salesman than thought leaders, self-appointed social media experts missed the real value of social networking – customers connecting with companies.
"Social networking" has been around forever. It's the simple act of expanding the number of people you know by meeting your friends' friends, their friends' friends and so on. In fact, many of us today use Twitter and Facebook to promote our existing and upcoming businesses. And people looking to connect with other business-associated contacts usually move to sites like LinkedIn, but one need to understand that social media is beyond Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Blogs. After observing and running an analysis on hundreds of Social Networking sites I have listed down 40 most popular social networks across countries.
o Browse and join networks, which are organized into four categories: regions, colleges, workplaces and high schools.
o Pull contacts from a Web-based e-mail account, into Facebook.com.
o Find friends in several ways, including search engine to look for a specific person and lot more.
o Facebook has recently crossed 500 million users and is the most popular Social Networking site of the world.
2. MySpace: On MySpace, your social network starts growing from the first day. When you join MySpace, the first step is to create a profile. You then, invite friends to join there and search for your friends on already profiled on MySpace these friends become your initial Friend Space. Once the friendship is confirmed all the people in your friends' Friend Space become part of your network. In that sense, everyone on MySpace is in your Extended Network. As part of terms of MySpace, the user must be at least 14 years old to register.
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